It’s no secret that the apocalypse is ‘in’ right now, and has been for a long time. Between The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and the resurgence of popularity of classics such as 1984 and Brave New World, there’s plenty to choose from.
It seems like everybody ends the world a different way, and some things get more airtime than others – so here are five books, comics, and movies that you might not have heard before, all with different takes on the end of the world.
1. SNOWPIERCER – BONG JOON-HO
Primarily known in North America for The Host (2006), Bong Joon-ho is a Korean writer and director with a flair for the unsettling. Snowpiercer, based on the 1982 French comic Le Transperceneige, follows the underprivileged inhabitants of a train that circles the frozen, dead world at the speed of one rotation a year.
Starring Chris Evans, John Hurt, Go Ah-sung and Octavia Spencer, among others, the film uses its all-star cast against a bleak, almost monochrome background to tell a jarring and horrific story. While the setting is from the comic book, the story and the characters are very much in Bong Joon-Ho’s style, and the result is haunting.
2. DEAD WINTER – ALLISON SHABET
Zombie apocalypses aren’t new and interesting anymore, and it’s hard to claim that Allison Shabet’s webcomic does anything gimmicky with it, but her art and storytelling skills bring Dead Winter to life on the page. It doesn’t hurt that webcomics as a medium are surprisingly short on zombie post-apocalyptic wastelands.
Dead Winter follows Lizzie Cooper, an ex-waitress trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, and Black Monday Blues, an incredibly cool gun-for-hire, on parallel stories through the wasteland of the undead-infested world.
3. TANK GIRL – JAMIE HEWLETT & ALAN MARTIN
While Tank Girl as a pop culture icon remains fairly recognizable, it’s hard to express how bizarre the original comics are. Written by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett (yes – that Jamie Hewlett), the comic was published in 1988 and drew from British counterculture, the Mad Max movies, and spoofs of Margaret Thatcher.
There’s a lot I could say about why you should read Tank Girl, but I’ll keep it at this. Where else are you going to meet and fall in love with a mutated kangaroo called Boomer? Yeah, I thought so.
4. AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES – LEAH BOBET
On the novel (haha) end of things, the young adult novel An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet uses a post-apocalyptic world as a setting for a twist on the high fantasy tale. An army of men set off to wage war against an evil god, and win.
The book tells the story of the women who stayed at home and their seemingly endless wait for their loved ones to return home. In particular, it follows the story of two sisters as they struggle to keep their farm together without killing each other.
5. FREAKANGELS – WARREN ELLIS
Warren Ellis, best known as the author of Transmetropolitan, co-created FreakAngels with artist Paul Duffield from 2008 to 2011. Twelve children are born at the same time in a small town in England, and as they grow up, they explore their connection with each other and their own powers – and accidentally destroy the world. FreakAngels picks up after the apocalypse and what happens next.
FreakAngels is Ellis’s take on the seminal classic, Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. Essentially, it pairs “What happens if the Cuckoos grow up?” with a post-apocalyptic setting – and a good dose of raunchy British humor.
There’s no short of post-apocalyptic media out there. As far as trends go, it’s not one that’s going to die out soon, and it’s not a recent one either. People have been writing and drawing and creating about the end of the world for decades. But how will our view of the End change – and who will end up being right? Who knows?
What’s your favorite piece of post-apocalyptic media?